lower level home office


As a Realtor, I have toured a lot of basements. I rarely preview a basement if I am alone. It’s true some lower levels are just creepy. Sometimes the whole house has a haunting vibe that is hard to shake. It may be my fifth-grade imagination, or is it? And sometimes this happens at showings in Colorado. But today, I want to share a few tips on how to decorate a basement.

These tips work if you are thinking about selling or planning for guests!

Many of the basements I show are finished, with a style reflecting the era of the remodel. Yes, the shag carpet lives on in many basements of the 1970s. And popcorn ceiling removal crews are still in business.


The comments I hear from buyers when we preview homes with basements include:

  • I wish there was a 3/4 or full bath
  • outdated flooring
  • too many bedrooms on the lower level
  • dated features
  • dimly lit basements (ours does not have great light, but the original owners opened up the wall down the stairs to add more natural light.
  • wet bar/coffee bar/refrigerator set up for overnight guests


Over the years, I have picked up a few ides for basements. Let’s take a look at my basement years ago. It’s rough!






Paint brightens up a room. Don’t forget tp paint the ceilings if they are looking a little tired ore dust bunnies.


Add small lamps on end tables and corners. I like to add tiny lamps in the basement bathroom and on a bar top. Target has the cutest lamps for under $15.00.

This is a Target lamp from last year.


  • bar area
  • bathroom
  • flooring vinyl flooring is a popular option for families, pets and snow days

It’s true that design trends turn quickly. We remodeled our basement bathroom ten years ago with the popular shiplap wall, added a new sink and toilet, and kept the beige tub.

We kept the bathroom as is, but we recently updated our bar countertops and added new lower cabinets (that match our kitchen cabinets).


And, if your bonus room looks tired or plain here are a few simple tips.The fun part of a basement mini-makeover is you get to define the space.

Yes, you get to let guests or potential buyers know the purpose of the room. Some of you may remember when I defined our upper-level loft.

If you want tips on how to define or rearrange a room when your mind is start here.



We have a bonus room in our basement that, over the years, had multiple titles and responsibilities. The extra room was once a playroom with a minefield of Legos and Lillian Vernon cardboard brick boxes.

If your basement has two or even three bedrooms, designate one as a guest room and maybe the 2nd one is for teenagers or grandkids. I like todecorate a corner or even a 2nd bedroom with crayons and puzzles. For one seller, I purchased a cute street-like carpet at Ikea and add Matchbox cars. Sellers loved it and so did the buyers!

You don’t have to sell your home to stage it for family and friends. Oh and you knew I would share a before picture. It hurts my eyes!

The bonus room always had just one job at a time. But after our quarantine spring, we needed a room that could adapt.

In recent years the room became a home office. And, the guest room for a pile of high school kids who had no back issues after sleeping on the floor.



With my sister and brother-in-law joining us for Christmas, we made the decision to invest in a sleeper sofa for the bonus room. Second best basement decision! Here was our best decision.



Sleep on the sofa before the guests arrive. Or, better yet, have one of your kids sleep on it.

My sister and brother-in-law were the first guests to sleep on the sleeper sofa. They both suggested a mattress topper. I found one online and at Costco for future guests or my sister!

A few years ago we decided to reconfigure a closet that was situated outside this room. It is just behind the couch and to the right.

Even the closet has multiple job titles. We keep linens for guests and a printer and office supplies in that closet.



A legal (conforming) basement bedroom needs egress (and a ladder if it is below grade) and buyers usually prefer a closet in a bedroom.

Our bonus room in the basement had just enough space for a desk and chair. We took advantage of the bookshelves around the dual-sided fireplace for my husband’s paper files. I added this rug to anchor the room and give it a bit of cozy.

The dual-sided fireplace was one of the reasons we loved the house. The sellers had a builder-basic finished basement.

The flooring changed the entire look of the basement.


This room originally had French doors. It just did not work with our style of brownstone meets industrial meets, Colorado. The barn doors were the only project where we were ahead of the trend. And it looks like barn doors are still the popular doors on the track but with a few variations. I just previewed a home with glass barn doors and they looked amazing!

The doors provide privacy (versus the glass French doors) and the solid doors added a bit more of a sound barrier for conference calls.

We added a rug for our newly installed floors to add warmth and a cozy landing for chilly feet in the morning. I shared the DIY live edge coffee table here. Soooo easy to make a coffee table!



We have a small fridge in the basement and we keep a guest coffee pot in the bar area. We might add a microwave so my husband can heat up his leftovers! Speaking of working from home here are few home office guidelines I shared in this funny post!

That’s it!

Now, when guests come they will have their own little studio apartment. And, when they leave we have a home office for my husband.

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  1. Your basement looks amazing! Those barn doors and the fireplace!!! We had those LV bricks too!

  2. Tricia Becker says:

    I love everything about this space! You really feel like you’re staying at a mountain resort! Love, love, love it!

    1. I am getting a topper or whatever you call it for extra cushion too! xo xo

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